Veronica Cartwright has one of those familiar faces. She is someone you know that you have seen before. The fact that she is not a household name is a shame, considering the breadth of her work as an actor and the pivotal roles she has had in television and film.
As Violet Rutherford she gave Beaver Cleaver his first kiss. As Rosalie Wells, she delivered the scandalous lie that ruined lives in “The Children’s Hour”. She ran from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Birds” and Ridley Scott’s “Alien.”
With a career spanning five decades, Veronica Cartwright can speak volumes about the twists and turns of an acting career. But the highlights for her have been the relationships she created working with the other actors.
“In my twenties, it seemed like I could just not get a job.” She explains her move to England after her success as a Hollywood child star waned. “I was hired for a film called ‘Inserts’ and it was Bob Hoskins' first film. I played a porno-queen junkie and it was just one of the best experiences I’ve ever had… and with life-long friends that I made from the film.”
Cartwright and her sister, Angela (noted for her roles in “The Sound of Music” and “Lost in Space”), moved with their parents to Hollywood from England when they were children. Both girls found work as models, eventually making their way to casting agents and full-time acting careers.
To say the two sisters are close is an understatement. They lived next door to each other for thirteen years.
Angela left acting in the 1980s to pursue photography. And Veronica’s career picked up again as an adult with the role of Lambert in “Alien.” The film put her back in the spotlight, but she had some disappointment on arriving on set.
“I was hired to play Ripley.” She recalls, “When I got to the set I was told I was playing Lambert.” Her part was given to Sigourney Weaver, launching her stardom.
Cartwright is known for her ability to “freak-out” on cue (refer to the Third Act reveal in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” for a prime example).
Asked if she has any trade secrets to reaching that “peak moment”, she explains, “I just always feel if you know your character, and you’ve gotten involved with your character, you just instantly know how they are going to react - if you’ve done your homework.”
Cartwright appears this Saturday at a special screening of her new film, a mystery thriller, “In/Sight,” opening this week at the Cinemas Palme d’Or. Joining Cartwright for an audience Q & A will be the film’s director, Richard Gabai.
KNEWS Radio's Bill Feingold will host the event.
Tickets are available at the Box Office, or call (760) 779 0430.